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ALEXANDER  VON   HTJMBOLBT,                   17
the celebrated geologist, and ^hatl made this field of
natural science the favouiite object of "his studies. "We
tlxoreforo, in the spring, 1790, -with FOBSTEII and' a
certain VON GJETTNS, find him, making Ms first scien-
tific journey to the Rhine, through Holland, and to
England ; and this first experience became the subject
of Ids first literary production. It appeared in the
fiamo year tinder the title C( Mineralogical Observations
on Homo Basaltic Formations of the Rhine/" and was
intended to furnish the proof that this mineral was of
noptxinic origin, and that its formation, therefore, dated
from the great water phenomena of the earthball.
Forsfcer collected materials on this journey for his
splendid work, " The Views of the Lower Rhine."
It may with certainty be presumed that Alexander
von Humboldt prepared himself for this journey with
Forstor from the winter of 1789 to the spring of 1790.
Wo deduce this from Ms earnest striving after know-
lodge, and from the fact that this was a j ourney under-
taken for scientific researches; he, therefore, spent a
much more intellectual winter than bis brother "Wil-
liam, who enriched himself in a more genial manner.
And here, the difference between the two brothers be-
comes  very evident,  for while William,  the  elder,
nought the life of society, and susceptible to all the im-
pulses of higher fooling**, early entered into ties of im-
portance for his whole life, Alexander had neither found
food for those phases of his soul, nor sought the oppor-
tunity, bxit had steadfastly kept to the one great pla,n
•—to found a future  position, "by faithful researches
into the spirit of natural life.    William, tirged by the
enthusiastic feature in. his character, enjoyed already
the advantages of an aesthetic, select circle^ but Alex-
ander studied in his quiet intercourse with that world
whoso eternal laws were to become intelligible to him.
While he devoted himself to the geologic and mine-
ralogic preparatory studies for his first journey, and
to a correspondence with Forster, prompted by the
noblest friendship, "WilHgbm lived partly in Erfurt, in
the society of the Baron Dalberg, especially in the